Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS5667403 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 08/360,569
Publication dateSep 16, 1997
Filing dateDec 21, 1994
Priority dateDec 28, 1993
Fee statusPaid
Also published asDE4446854A1, DE4446854C2
Publication number08360569, 360569, US 5667403 A, US 5667403A, US-A-5667403, US5667403 A, US5667403A
InventorsMasaru Fukuda, Eiji Fukuda, Kazuyuki Shiraki, Kouichi Shirouzu
Original AssigneeYazaki Corporation, Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Connector engagement detecting apparatus
US 5667403 A
Abstract
This invention relates to a connector engagement detecting apparatus having a compact checking structure. In the first connector housing A', a short-circuit contact piece 19 with an elastic contact strip 19c is provided as positioned on the side of a deflectable space for a resilient lock arm 14, a shirt-circuit contact portion 19c 3 of the elastic contact strip 19c being opposed and spaced out to a bottom wall of the deflectable space, further, an depressing portion 19d of the elastic contact piece 19c being extended above over the bottom wall and opposed to the resilient lock arm 14, thereby, the elastic contact piece 19c being deflected according to the deflection of the resilient lock arm 14, on a supporting frame 17 in the second connector housing B', a couple of terminal pins D"/D" for detecting engagement being provided to be opposed to the short-circuit contact piece, when the first connector housing A' and the second connector housing B' are incompletely engaged, the resilient lock arm 14 being deflected to deform the short-circuit contact piece 19C not to make contact with a couple of the terminal pins D"/D" for detecting engagement.
Images(6)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(10)
What is claimed is:
1. A connector engagement detecting apparatus comprising:
a first connector housing having a recess provided on an upper surface thereof to form a deflection space containing a bottom wall, a resilient lock arm disposed in said deflection space above said bottom wall, and a second connector housing having an engaging portion for receiving the resilient lock arm;
a short-circuit contact piece having a resilient body carried by the first connector housing, said short circuit contact piece containing at least one cantilevered elastic contact strip having an elastic short circuit contact portion positioned in the first connector housing,
said short-circuit contact portion of the elastic contact strip being spaced beneath the bottom wall of the deflection space,
a depressing portion of the short-circuit contact piece extending above the deflection space bottom wall in opposition to the resilient lock arm whereby the short circuit contact piece is engageable with said resilient lock arm and deflected in response to the deflection of the resilient lock arm,
a couple of terminal pins for detecting engagements provided on a supporting frame in the second connector housing and being disposed in opposition to the short-circuit contact piece, whereby, when the first and the second connector housings are completely engaged with each other, the short-circuit contact portion of said short-circuit contact piece makes contact with the couple of terminal pins for detecting engagement, and,
when the first and the second connector housings are incompletely engaged with each other, the resilient lock arm is deflected to displace the short-circuit contact piece to prevent said contact portion of said contact piece from making contact with the couple of terminal pins for detecting engagement.
2. A connector engagement detecting apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein a lock projection formed on the resilient lock arm is abutted on an upper inside surface of an engage frame of the engaging portion, whereby the resilient lock arm deflects into the deflection space when the first and the second connector housings are incompletely engaged with each other.
3. A connector engagement detecting apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the supporting frame is formed so as to extend forward from a rear wall of the second connector housing and compensating ribs are provided on the supporting frame.
4. A connector engagement detecting apparatus as claimed in claim 3, wherein the supporting frame is formed in an approximately T-shaped cross section in which a longitudinal partition plate is provided on a center line of an inside face thereof and each of the couple of the terminal pins for detecting engagement is provided at each side of the partition plate.
5. A connector engagement detecting apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the supporting frame is extending ahead of tips of the terminal pins for detecting engagement.
6. A connector engagement detecting apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the body of the short-circuit contact piece is formed of an elastic metal plate and has a base plate; an elastic plate portion is formed adjacent to an arc-shaped folded portion of the base plate so as to increase its elasticity; a pair of cantilevered parallel elastic contact strips are formed with a slit between them so as to extend from a forward end of the elastic plate portion; and each of the elastic contact strips has a lower horizontal portion, a rising portion, an arc-shaped contact portion, and an upper horizontal portion.
7. A connector engagement detecting apparatus as claimed in claim 6, wherein said elastic contact strips are bent at the both sides of said slit to form a pair of depressing portions which rise up from the free ends of the elastic contact pieces.
8. A connector engagement detecting apparatus as claimed in claim 7, wherein, at the top of the pair of the depressing portions, face plates for receiving a pushing force from said resilient lock arm are formed so as to extend inwardly, and, on an inside end of each face plate, each of a pair of abutting plates is formed so as to extend downwardly and to oppose to each other.
9. A connector engagement detecting apparatus as claimed in claim 6, wherein the short-circuit contact piece has a pair of turn-out portions adjacent to side plates connecting with the base plate so as to cover the elastic plate portion and to receive a force from the resilient lock arm.
10. A connector engagement detecting apparatus as claimed in claim 9, wherein, on the side plate adjacent to the turn-out portion, a projection is formed so that the contact piece may be locked with a corresponding supporting slot.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a couple of connectors for use as automobile wiring harnesses, or the like, and more particularly to a connector engagement detecting apparatus having means for detecting a completely engaged state of a couple of the connectors. Further, this invention relates to a short-circuit contact piece used in the engagement detecting apparatus.

2. Prior Art

Referring to FIG.8 and 9, A designates a male connector housing, B designates a female connector housing, and each of them is formed of synthetic-resin materials.

In the male connector housing A, a plurality of terminal receiving cavities 1 are formed, as well known, and female terminal pieces C are inserted to be secured therein. Similarly, in the female connector housing B, a plurality of terminal receiving cavities (not illustrated) are formed and male terminal pieces D are inserted to be secured therein.

In a concave portion 2 of an upper surface of the male connector housing A, a cantilever resilient lock arm 3 with a vertical base member 3a is provided as extending afterward. On an upper surface of a middle part of the resilient lock arm 3, a lock projection 3b is formed, and on a free end of the resilient lock arm 3, a push portion 3c for unlocking is provided. On a center portion of a forward end of a top wall 4 composing the female connector housing B, an engage-frame 5 for depressing to the resilient lock arm 3 is provided, and a lock opening 5a for cooperating with the lock projection 3b to return it to its original position is also formed on the top wall 4.

The aforementioned structure is a well known art, wherein, when the male connector housing A and the female connector housing B engage with each other, the female terminal pieces C and the male terminal pieces D make contact with each other. At that time, the lock projection 3b abuts on the engage-frame 5, whereby the resilient lock arm 3 deflects downwardly as retaining resilience into a lower space R for allowing a deflection of the resilient lock arm 3 and thereafter the lock projection 3b reaches to the lock opening 5a, and as the resilient lock arm 3 returns to the original position, the male connector housing A and the female connector housing B are completely engaged with each other and locked thereby.

Numeral 6 denotes a contact piece for detecting engagement. The contact piece 6 has a couple of elastic contact portions 6b/6b which rise up from a folded corner 6' at one end of a base plate 6a and has, at the other end of the base plate 6a, a terminal nose piece 6c being folded oppositely to the elastic contact portion 6b. The terminal nose piece 6c has a tab which extends afterward from a folded corner 6" thereof. The contact piece 6 for detecting engagement is secured by engaging the folded corner 6' of each contact position with an end of a compartment wall 8 between the concave portion 2 and the terminal receiving cavity 1' adjacent to the concave portion 2. Thereby, the couple of the elastic contact portions 6b/6b are cause to rise up in the space R for allowing a deflection in opposition to the free end of the resilient lock arm 3. And, the terminal nose pieces 6c/6c with the tab are secured backwardly in the terminal receiving cavity 1'/1'. The terminal nose pieces 6c/6c with the tab are connected with the normal female terminal pieces C. Thereby, an electric detection circuit is composed.

Numeral 7 designates a short-circuit contact piece which is formed of an elastic metal and is gate-shaped. Both leg pieces 7a/7a of the short-circuit contact piece 7 each have an outwardly folded contact piece 7b. The short-circuit contact piece 7, wherein the folded contact pieces 7b/7b are each engaged with a corresponding strip 5b of the engage-frame 5, is fixed to the engage frame 5 with an adhesive, and so on.

In the above-mentioned structure, when the male connector housing A and the female connector housing B are incompletely engaged with each other, the free end of the resilient lock arm 3, as illustrated in FIG. 9B, deflects downwardly and also forces deflection of the elastic contact portions 6b/6b of the contact pieces 6/6 for detecting engagement. Therefore, as the short-circuit contact piece 7 is isolated from the elastic contact portions 6b/6b, the detecting electric circuit does not work.

On the other hand, when the male connector housing A and the female connector housing B are completely engaged to each other, the resilient lock arm 3, as illustrated in FIG. 9C, returns to the original position and also the elastic contact portions 6b/6b of the contact pieces 6/6 for detecting engagement return to the original position. Thereby, the elastic contact portions 6b/6b make contact with the short-circuit contact piece 7 and the detecting electric circuit gets to work.

In the above-mentioned prior art device, the male connector housing with the resilient lock arm has a couple of the contact pieces for detecting engagement, and the female connector housing has the short-circuit contact piece. Further, the male connector housing has a couple of the female terminal pieces which are connected to the contact pieces to detect the complete engagement. Consequently, the engagement checking structure is so complicated that more compact ones have been sought.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

This invention aims to solve the above problem and provides a more compact connector engagement detecting apparatus by leaving out the above-mentioned contact pieces to detect the complete engagement.

To achieve the object, in this invention, a connector engagement detecting apparatus comprises:

a first connector housing with a resilient lock arm; and,

a second connector housing having an engaging portion for the resilient lock arm; wherein,

in the first connector housing, a short-circuit contact piece with an elastic contact strip is provided as positioned under a deflectable space for the resilient lock arm,

a shirt-circuit contact portion of the elastic contact strip being opposed and extended to a bottom wall of the deflectable space,

further, a depressing portion of the elastic contact piece being extended above over the bottom wall and opposed to the resilient lock arm, thereby, the elastic contact piece being deflected according to the deflection of the resilient lock arm,

on a supporting frame in the second connector housing, a couple of terminal pins for detecting engagement being provided in opposition to the short-circuit contact piece,

when the first and the second connector housings are completely engaged with each other, the short-circuit contact piece making contact with the couple of the terminal pins for detecting engagement,

when the first and the second connector housings are incompletely engaged with each other, the resilient lock arm being deflected to deform the short-circuit contact piece not to make contact with the couple of the terminal pins for detecting engagement.

Further, in the connector engagement detecting apparatus according to this invention, the supporting frame is preferably formed so as to extend forward from a rear wall of the second connector housing and compensating ribs are preferably provided on the supporting frame.

Moreover, in the connector engagement detecting apparatus according to this invention, the supporting frame extends ahead of the tips of the terminal pins for detecting engagement.

In operation, when a couple of the connectors are incompletely engaged with each other, the elastic contact strip of the short-circuit contact piece is forcibly isolated from the terminal pin for detecting engagement.

On the other hand, when a couple of the connectors are completely engaged with each other, the elastic contact strip returns to the original position, and thereby is abutting to the terminal pin for detecting engagement.

Other aspects of this invention will be apparent in the following description and accompanied drawings of a preferred embodiment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of this invention, in which a male connector housing and a female connector housing are separated.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the male connector housing in regard to the embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a short-circuit contact piece in regard to the embodiment.

FIG. 4 are longitudinal sectional views of the male connector housing and the female connector housing, respectively, in regard to the embodiment.

FIG. 5 is a longitudinal sectional view of an initially engaging state of the male connector housing and the female connector housing in regard to the embodiment.

FIG. 6 is a longitudinal sectional view of an incomplete engaging state of the male connector housing and the female connector housing in regard to the embodiment.

FIG. 7 is a longitudinal sectional view of a complete engaging state of the male connector housing and the female connector housing in regard to the embodiment.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a prior art device, in which a male connector housing and a female connector housing are separated.

In a longitudinal sectional view of the above prior art, FIG. 9A shows the male connector housing and the female connector housing separated; FIG. 9B shows an incomplete engaging state of the connectors; and FIG. 9C shows the complete engaging state of the connectors.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, numeral A' denotes a male connector housing, numeral B' denotes a female connector housing for a printed circuit board, and both of the housings are formed of synthetic resin materials.

In the male connector housing A', a plurality of terminal receiving cavities 10 are formed and female terminal pieces C' are inserted to be secured therein (as illustrated in FIG. 4). In regard to the female connector housing B', a plurality of terminal pins D', supported by a rear wall 11, are aligned in exterior walls 12.

In a recess or concave portion 13 defining a deflection space on an upper surface of the male connector housing A', a cantilever resilient lock arm 14 with a vertical base member 14a is provided as extending backwardly. On an upper surface of a middle part of the resilient lock arm 14, a lock projection 14b is formed, and on an upper surface of the free end portion of the resilient lock arm 14, an actuating portion 14c for unlocking is provided. At a center part of a forward end of a top wall 15 in regard to the female connector housing B', an engage frame 16 for cooperating with the resilient lock arm 14 is provided and a lock opening 16a corresponding to the lock projection 14b is also formed. When the male connector housing A' and the female connector housing B' engage with each other, the female terminal pieces C' and the male terminal pins D' make contact with each other. At that time, the lock projection 14b abuts on a fore end of the engage frame 16, whereby the resilient lock arm 14 deflects downwardly into a lower region, indicated as R1, of the deflection space 13 (see FIG. 4) for allowing a deflection of the resilient lock arm 14 and then the lock projection 14b passes beneath the engage frame 16 until it reaches the lock opening 16a, and as the resilient lock arm 14 returns to the original position, the male connector housing A' and the female connector housing B' are completely engaged with each other and locked thereby.

In the exterior walls 12 defining the female connector housing B', a supporting frame 17 that cooperates with the engage frame 16 is provided so as to extend forward from the rear wall 11. The supporting frame 17 is formed in approximately T-shaped cross section by fitting a longitudinal partition plate 17b on the center line of the inside face of a horizontal plate 17a thereof. Further, compensating ribs 17c are provided so as to extend from the both sides of the horizontal plate 17a. A couple of terminal pins D" for detecting engagement ape provided at the both sides of the partition plate 17b so as to penetrate through the rear wall 11. The terminal pins D" are positioned so as to extend ahead of the male terminal pins D', and the supporting frame 17 is formed so as to extend ahead of the tip of the terminal pins D".

In the male connector housing A', a slot 18 in approximately T-shaped cross section for receiving the supporting frame 17 is formed so as to extend afterward and to be positioned coextensively with the resilient lock arm 14. Further, on a bottom wall 13a of the concave portion that forms the deflection space 13, grooves 13a2 are formed for inserting the compensating ribs 17c, and, under the slot 18, a slot 20 opened forward is formed for supporting a short-circuit contact piece 19.

The short-circuit contact piece 19 is formed of an elastic metal plate and has an base plate 19a, wherein an elastic plate portion 19b is formed adjacent to an arc-shaped folded portion 19b1 of the base plate so as to increase its elasticity. Further, a pair of cantilevered parallel elastic contact strips 19c/19c is formed with a slit 19f between them, like a fork, so as to extend from a fore end of the elastic plate portion 19b. Each of the elastic contact strips 19c/19c has a lower horizontal portion 19c1, a rising portion 19c2, an arc-shaped short-circuit contact portion 19c3, and an upper horizontal portion 19c4. An actuating portion of the short circuit contact piece 19 includes a pair of depressing portions 19d/19d formed so as to rise up from the free end of the elastic contact strips 19c. Turn out portions 19e/19e are provided above the elastic plate portion 19b by bending the base plate 19a at the both sides thereof. At the top of a pair of depressing portions 19d/19d, face plates 19d1/19d1 receiving a pushing force are formed so as to extend inward. On an inside end of the each face plate 19d1/19d1, each of abutting plates 19d2/19d2 is formed so as to extend downward and to oppose to each other, which prevents the depressing portions from falling down inward by supporting each other when a force is acted on them. The turn-out portions 19e/19e cover the elastic plate portion 19b and receive the force from the resilient lock arm 14. On a side plate adjacent to the turnout portions 19e/19e, a projection 19g is formed so that the contact piece 19 may be locked with the supporting slot 20.

The turn-out portions 19e/19e of the base plate 19a are inserted into and engaged with the supporting slot 20 so that the short-circuit contact piece 19 may be fixed thereby. The elastic contact strips 19c/19c extend afterward so that the contact portion 19c3 may be opposing, with a space R2, to the lower face of the bottom wall 13a of the concave portion 13. The depressing portions 19d/19d extend into the concave portion 13 through an opening 13a1 of the bottom wall 13a to abut on the lower surface of an unlocking actuating portion 14c of the resilient lock arm 14 (referring to FIG. 4). Each of the elastic contact strips 19c/19c can deflect independently to each other by having the slit 19f between them, which enables to short-circuit sufficiently a pair of the terminal pins D"/D" with the elastic contact pieces even if each of the terminal pins D" is deviated vertically from each other.

In the above-mentioned structure, when the male connector housing A' and the female connector housing B' are initially engaging with each other, the supporting frame 17 and the terminal pins D" for detecting engagement advance into the slot 18 (referring to FIG. 5). In a further engagement step, the advancing ends of the supporting frame 17 and the terminal pins D" come into the space R2. Then, the lock projection 14b abuts on the upper inside surface of the engage frame 16, whereby the resilient lock arm 14 deflects downwardly into the deflection space R1 and, accordance with the deflection of the resilient lock arm 14, the elastic contact strips 19c/19c of the short-circuit contact piece 19 deform to make the space R2 larger. Thus, the terminal pins D" are prevented from making contact with the short-circuit contact piece 19 (referring to FIG. 6).

On the other hand, when the male connector housing A' and the female connector housing B' are completely engaged with each other, the resilient lock arm 14 returns to the original position so that the elastic contact strips 19c/19c return to their initial positions, and the contact portions 19c3/19c3 make contact with a pair of the terminal pins D"/D" for detecting engagement. Consequently, a detecting electric circuit is actuated (referring to FIG. 7).

In the first aspect of this invention, there is provided a more compact connector engagement detecting apparatus by leaving out the conventional contact pieces to detect the complete engagement. Further, the contact portion of the short-circuit contact piece is protected appropriately by the connector housing walls to achieve a stable engagement detection.

In the second aspect of this invention, the compensating ribs prevent the supporting frame from deforming so that the terminal pins for detecting engagement may not be distorted as they are held by the supporting frame, whereby a stable electric connection is enabled.

In the third aspect of this invention, when a pair of the connectors engage with each other, only the fore end of the supporting frame works as a guide during the engagement, which prevents the tip of the terminal pin for detecting engagement from abutting the corresponding terminal and from being distorted thereby.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4900267 *May 30, 1989Feb 13, 1990Yazaki CorporationHarness connector having an engagement check structure
US5055058 *May 14, 1990Oct 8, 1991Yazaki CorporationDevice for checking for incomplete locking of connector housings
US5127848 *Mar 20, 1991Jul 7, 1992Yazaki CorporationConnector engagement detecting apparatus
US5131865 *Feb 20, 1991Jul 21, 1992Yazaki CorporationConnector apparatus with coupling detecting function
US5263872 *Dec 22, 1992Nov 23, 1993The Whitaker CorporationElectrical shorting system
US5277608 *Mar 19, 1993Jan 11, 1994The Whitaker CorporationElectrical connector
DE4311767A1 *Apr 8, 1993Oct 21, 1993Whitaker CorpElektrische Verbinderanordnung
EP0448083A1 *Mar 20, 1991Sep 25, 1991Yazaki CorporationA connector engagement detecting apparatus
EP0448084A1 *Mar 20, 1991Sep 25, 1991Yazaki CorporationA connector engagement detecting apparatus
EP0621658A2 *Apr 20, 1994Oct 26, 1994Sumitomo Wiring Systems, Ltd.Lock connector
JPH0250982A * Title not available
JPH0382574A * Title not available
JPH0472576A * Title not available
JPH03272578A * Title not available
JPH03274685A * Title not available
JPH03274686A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5863216 *Jul 24, 1997Jan 26, 1999Sumitomo Wiring Systems, Ltd.Short-circuiting terminal fitting and connector therefor
US5874920 *Sep 19, 1996Feb 23, 1999Fujitsu LimitedPortable radio equipment, and built-in antenna mounting structure and shielding structure for the portable radio equipment
US6341975 *Aug 16, 2000Jan 29, 2002Sumitomo Wiring Systems, Ltd.Connector with locking arm having groove facing away from connector housing
US6827596 *Apr 23, 2004Dec 7, 2004J.S.T. Mfg. Co., Ltd.Connector
US8113871 *Jul 20, 2010Feb 14, 2012Japan Aviation Electronics Industry, LimitedConnector assembly
US8226443Apr 20, 2007Jul 24, 2012Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.Interconnect detection system
US8944844 *Jan 18, 2013Feb 3, 2015Tyco Electronics CorporationConnector mating assurance
US20110021058 *Jul 20, 2010Jan 27, 2011Japan Aviation Electronics Industry, LimitedConnector assembly
EP0997986A2 *Oct 21, 1999May 3, 2000The Whitaker CorporationElectrical connector
EP2200126A2 *Nov 5, 2009Jun 23, 2010Robert Bosch GmbHElectric plug connector
WO2009131610A1 *Mar 10, 2009Oct 29, 2009Tyco Electronics CorporationMechanical device showing prior mating
Classifications
U.S. Classification439/489, 439/188
International ClassificationH01R13/70, H01R13/639, H01R13/627, H01R13/641, H01R13/422, H01R13/64
Cooperative ClassificationH01R13/6272, H01R13/4223, H01R13/641
European ClassificationH01R13/641
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 11, 2009FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12
Feb 17, 2005FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Feb 22, 2001FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Dec 21, 1994ASAssignment
Owner name: TOYOTA JIDOSHA KABUSHIKI KAISHA, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FUKUDA, MASARU;FUKUDA, EIJI;SHIRAKI, KAZUYUKI;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:007282/0837
Effective date: 19941215
Owner name: YAZAKI CORPORATION, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FUKUDA, MASARU;FUKUDA, EIJI;SHIRAKI, KAZUYUKI;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:007282/0837
Effective date: 19941215